Safari the Globe

Cultural Information for the Traveler

Destinations » Asia » Far East »

North KoreaThe name of North Korea in the country itself is simply known as the Democratic People's Republic of Korea; north is only used by foreigners in comparison to South Korea, although both nations claim the entire peninsula. The name Korea is derived from the name "Goryeo," which was a kingdom on the peninsula that ruled beginning in 37 BC, but only came to control most of the peninsula in the early 900s.

조선민주주의인민공화국

WARNING: North Korea is unstable, please read this travel warning before going!

Introduction:

Although most cultures take hundreds, if not thousands of years to develop and become what they are today, much of North Korean culture was created over a very short period. Today, North Korea is everything that Kim Il-Sung brainwashed North Korea to be and that is, unfortunately, an isolated xenophobic country with so much national and ethnic pride that simply being foreign is an unforgivable sin.

The ability of Kim Il-Sung to brainwash his people came from historic Korean roots, which focused on honoring elders, respecting their leaders, unquestionably following those in charge, and a strong ethnic pride.

The historic Korean culture is focused on respect for elders and comes with a strong sense of discipline and humility. The people believe honor and respect comes with time, hard work, and a long process of learning. With this mentality also comes an effort to "save face," which is a desire to never offend another and gives people an opportunity to maintain their pride, which is something that takes generations, not years to gain.

The wide red stripe across the flag represents revolutionary traditions, a common color to represent revolution in communist and socialist countries. The white bands represent purity, strength, and dignity, while the blue bands represent sovereignty, peace, and friendship. The red star is another symbol of socialism.

Name: Democratic People's Republic of Korea
Independence: August 15, 1945
Capital: P'yongyang
Currency: North Korean Won
Population: 24,720,407 (2013 estimate)
Ethnicity: Korean
Language: Korean
Religion: None, Buddhism, & Confucianism

Additionally, the Koreans have spent much of their history under foreign rulers and this, like it often does, created a stronger ethnic pride and identity. This united the people and soon the people began to follow any ethnic Korean at a point the communists, under the leadership of Kim Il-Sung, came to power. Kim's leadership was quickly accepted due to this strong national pride, his leadership, and his strong belief in self-rule.

Although historic Korean ideals allowed Kim to come to power, it was only Kim and his circle of leader that have altered the culture since this time, without the people's approval or, in many cases, knowledge. Kim and his government decided to isolate the people as their focus shifted to economic growth, however one-sided growth as industry became the only market exploited. They also isolated the people from those abroad, the country attempted to became self-reliant, and began to teach their people whatever is needed to maintain power and instill pride.

This isolated state has led to the people of North Korea being so isolated that they don't know any better than to believe what their government tells them is true; many of these people have been the victims of government lies from the day they were born. The people are too poor to afford cars or to travel with any significance as long bus trips, train trips, and flights are too expensive for anyone to even see their own country. Fear is an integral aspect of daily life so socialization has diminished as distrust has risen. Luxury goods are not accessible and, even if they were, no one would be able to afford them. Knowledge of the outside world is limited to misconceptions as fast food, packaged foods, and most technology are unheard of in this hermit state.

People everywhere only know as much as they are taught and the North Koreans only known what their government has told them, which is not always true. About the only aspects of the North Korean's historic culture that survive are their language, heated floors, a sense of respect, some clothing, and some foods.

Learn More About North Korea:

The Land:
Geography WeatherWildlife

The Past:
History Architecture

The Food:
Food SpecialtiesDining EtiquetteDrinks

The Culture:
Way of Life EthnicityLanguage ReligionDress BehaviorIdentity

Map of North Korea:

Map of North Korea

Travel Planner:

Start your trip to North Korea with our free Travel Planner:

Step-by-Step Travel Planning Guide

Information for North Korea was last updated: August, 2012 ● View our: Sources & Special Thanks